Condensed Matter Theory

Philippe Ben-Abdallah Near-Field Thermal Transistor

Author(s): Philippe Ben-Abdallah, Svend-Age Biehs

Near-Field Thermal Transistor

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Article: PRL 112, 044301 (2014), American Physical Society

Keywords: near-field, thermal radiation, transistor, phase change materials

PACS: 44.40.+a, 05.60.-k, 78.67.-n

Using a block of three separated solid elements, a thermal source and drain together with a gate made of an insulator-metal transition material exchanging near-field thermal radiation, we introduce a nanoscale analog of a field-effect transistor that is able to control the flow of heat exchanged by evanescent thermal photons between two bodies. By changing the gate temperature around its critical value, the heat flux exchanged between the hot body (source) and the cold body (drain) can be reversibly switched, amplified, and modulated by a tiny action on the gate. Such a device could find important applications in the domain of nanoscale thermal management and it opens up new perspectives concerning the development of contactless thermal circuits intended for information processing using the photon current rather than the electric current.

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